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April 7, 2020

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After 75 days, first medic to Wuhan is home

Zhong Ming, the first medical expert who rushed to Wuhan to fight the novel coronavirus, returned to Shanghai yesterday along with the city’s eighth medical team from the once hardest-hit region in China.

Receiving orders from the national health commission, Zhong, an intensive care expert at Zhongshan Hospital, went to Wuhan City in central China’s Hubei Province alone on January 23, two days ahead of the Spring Festival.

He has been treating coronavirus patients in serious condition at Jinyintan Hospital, the first Wuhan hospital to treat COVID-19 patients, for 75 days.

A total of 471 Shanghai medical team members returned home yesterday. Other members from the eighth medical team are from the city’s Renji Hospital, the Shanghai General Hospital, the Fifth and Seventh people’s hospitals and Yangpu District Central Hospital.

They arrived in Wuhan on February 19 and fought against the virus at the Leishenshan Hospital, the second emergency hospital in Wuhan for COVID-19 patients. The team treated a total of 326 patients, including 30 in dangerous condition and 123 in serious condition.

“Though we’ve retreated from Wuhan, the COVID-19 prevention work has yet to end and the situation remains severe and complex, so we cannot relax,” said Zhang Jidong, vice president of Renji Hospital and the leader of the eighth team.

Before returning home, Renji donated about 320 boxes of supplies to Wuhan’s juvenile rescue and protection center, welfare house and nursing center.

Fu Xiaofang, 59, is the oldest medical expert with the team. The director of Renji’s infection department ensured the safety of all team members.

“My only goal was achieved today that everyone in the team would return home safely,” said Fu, who will retire next year.

Her colleague Li Yi, 23, is the youngest among the team members.

The nurse had been working overtime voluntarily since the outbreak in Wuhan.

“I feel the whole country has been united to get through the hard period,” Li said.

Zhou Lingyi and Yu Jinghai, both Renji nurses, got married at Leishenshan Hospital on February 28.

They had postponed their wedding ceremony to go to Wuhan together.

Witnessed by team leader Zhang and other members, the couple held a casual wedding ceremony on the sidelines of their busy work schedule.

“We spent our special, meaningful honeymoon to fight against COVID-19 together at the hospital,” said Zhou.

After working at Leishenshan Hospital for 48 days, Hu Yu, an intensive care unit nurse with the Shanghai Seventh People’s Hospital, left her hometown of Wuhan and returned to her work in Shanghai along with the medical team.

Her father drove a private vehicle to follow the bus carrying Hu and her colleagues to see them off at the airport. Hu’s brother and sister held a sign saying “gratitude to Shanghai medical team” in the car.

Lin Yan, vice president of the Shanghai Seventh People’s Hospital, said the experience in Wuhan had enhanced the skills of the team members. He led the 50-member team from the hospital to Wuhan as part of the eighth medical team.

The team from the seventh hospital caught public attention after a petition by Hu Shuangshuang, a young nurse with the hospital, became an online sensation.

“I applied to join the medical team to Wuhan with no regard for payment or death,” the nurse wrote in the letter to the hospital.

“I’m unmarried and have no child. I have siblings to take care of my parents. I have had no worries behind and gained permission from my parents,” Hu wrote.

The letter was shared by domestic media and touched many readers.

“Coming to Wuhan should be my bravest, most right and proud decision in my life,” Hu said before returning to Shanghai yesterday.

When packing on Sunday night, Zhong found that his luggage have been filled with gifts from Wuhan people.

They included masks and hazmat suits from volunteers in Wuhan. A volunteer even cooked a bowl of soup for Zhong and other medical experts from Shanghai.

“I had mixed feeling, both relaxed and reluctant to leave Wuhan, because I’ve poured too much emotion into the city,” Zhong said.

“I would like to thank all my colleagues working together in Wuhan though I cannot recognize most of them,” he added.

After returning to Shanghai, Zhong said he would lead his team to further enhance knowledge preparation and skills.

“I’m eager to return to work, to spend a holiday and to feel the happiness of every normal day,” Zhong said.

More than 40,000 medical professionals, including 1,649 from Shanghai, were dispatched to Hubei to fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

Most of the medical workers from Shanghai have returned home. But 51 are still treating patients at Wuhan.


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